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April 21, 2009

iPlayer gizmo slashes inbound email by 75%

Massive savings for BBC from automatic service

By Jason Stamper

Launched in December 2007, the revolutionary iPlayer has been used to download and watch over 271 million BBC programmes in its first year of operation, with over 700,000 requests to view on average per day.

That of course brings its own set of challenges, as millions of requests for help with the service have been flooding into BBC Audience Services.

But a new Ask a Question website service, delivered by Capita Business Services as part of its contract with BBC Audience Services, and powered by Transversal, has reduced inbound email inquiries by a whopping 75%.

More than 2.5 million customers have used the Capita Ask a Question help service after it went live in April 2008, and 99.6% per cent of queries are now being answered automatically.

The system gives iPlayer users instant online answers to questions that can be asked using everyday language. Additionally this constantly updated information is available to Capita’s contact centre agents, reducing average query times and allowing agents to concentrate on more complex queries, according to the firms involved.

“To provide efficient support for BBC iPlayer users, it was important to select the right partner and product to meet our self-service objectives,” said Jonathan Rush, head of business development at Capita. “The Transversal product provides immediate answers to questions via the FAQ knowledgebase. To date, less than one per cent of customers using the iPlayer Help service have sought further help, demonstrating its value to the service we provide the BBC.”

Customer support is becoming increasingly important to user adoption as the Beeb’s iPlayer is constantly evolving. Since its launch in 2007 new components such as streaming and radio have been added and the iPlayer has been rolled out across new platforms, such as the Nintendo Wii games console, Virgin Media cable TV customers and Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.

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The success of Ask a Question has been recognised by industry body the Customer Contact Association (CCA). It was a central part of the BBC and Capita’s winning entry in the Best Use of Technology Partnership category in the 2008 CCA awards.

In other news, the BBC has just launched a High Definition (HD) iPlayer service.



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